Spending endless summer days trout fishing in Minnesota is one of the best ways enjoy time to yourself or to bond with your loved ones. And if it’s your first time, then worry not; we’ve got you covered!
We’ve gathered some of the best trout fishing lakes in Minnesota, where you can catch your fill of delicious freshwater trout. Keep reading to start planning your fishing itinerary.
A Note About Trout Fishing Lakes in Minnesota
Before we dive into the list of the best trout fishing spots in Minnesota, there’s something you should know.
Fishing in Minnesota comes with many seasonal and local restrictions. Some of these laws apply statewide, while others apply only to certain lakes and streams. Some locations may also require visitors to have a salmon and trout stamp or a 24- or 72-hour fishing license to fish for trout.
Before planning your next trip, we suggest going through the Minnesota Fishing Regulations booklet (2022-2023).
Minnesota is an excellent destination for trout fishing. Its many bodies of water provide ample fishing opportunities for the perfect all-rounded fishing trip.
The state also hosts hundreds of fishing tournaments if you have a taste for competition.
And if you’re in for adventures in winter, then there’s nothing better than going ice-fishing in Minnesota!
Here are some of the wide variety of fish that Minnesota is famous for (including trout):
- Rainbow trout
- Brown trout
- Brook trout
- Northern pike
- Lake trout
- And more.
Fishing is incomplete without a healthy collection of baits. Learning about the best live bait you can use in trout fishing lakes in Minnesota is a must for a successful trip!
Best Trout Fishing Lakes in Northern Minnesota
1. Cenaiko Lake
Cenaiko Lake at Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park is a great fishing spot near the metro area in northeast Minnesota. It is a designated stream trout lake where fishing is only allowed during trout season. The lake is stocked with 5,000 rainbow trout yearlings once every spring and every fall.
Cenaiko is the fishing lake to visit if you’re traveling with family. Fly anglers also love this spot since the lake has no boat access.
Biannual stocking ensures plenty of fish to catch, such as rainbow trout, brook trout, brown trout, lake trout, white crappie, green sunfish, smallmouth bass, and more.
You will need to pay a fee to enter the park. Learn more about the restrictions and dates to fish at Cenaiko before you visit.
Do you want to try your luck at fly fishing this season? Go in fully prepared with our complete guide to fly fishing in Minnesota!
2. Ahmakose Lake
Ahmakose lake is home to lake trout and white suckers that reproduce naturally. It is one of the lesser-known trout fishing lakes in Minnesota and is therefore perfect for peaceful solo fishermen.
Find out more about Ahmakose Lake before planning your visit.
3. Balsam Lake
Spread across 220 acres, Balsam Lake is an excellent spot if you want quality family bonding time while fishing for north shore trout. It offers many options for outdoor enthusiasts, so even those not interested in trout fishing in Minnesota have many things to keep them occupied while you enjoy some fishing time.
Get more information on Balsam Lake.
4. Hanson Lake
You’ll love Hanson Lake if you love visiting wildlife refuge areas. It is a part of the Hubbel Pond Wildlife Management Area and is a designated rainbow trout lake.
Enjoy hunting for game & fish, or have a wonderful time looking for Minnesota’s birds on this scenic undeveloped shoreline.
Find out more about Hanson Lake.
5. Newman Lake
Newman Lake is a designated stream trout fishing lake in Minnesota with good water clarity. It is open to public access and a popular spot favored by bank and boat anglers.
It is stocked annually in the fall with rainbow trout fingerlings and hosts rock bass, black bullhead, golden shiner, northern pike, and crappie.
Check out more details on Newman Lake.
6. Deep Lake
If you want some catchable rainbows this season, Deep Lake is a must-visit trout fishing lake in Minnesota. This lake is annually stocked with rainbow trout yearlings.
The lake is open for fishing during the winter season, and you can catch trout up to and more than 20-inches long!
Find out more about Deep Lake.
It can be challenging to decide where to go when there are so many options for trout fishing lakes in Minnesota. Read up on Minnesota trout season fishing for ideas on how best to plan your fishing trip to the state.
Best Trout Fishing Lakes in Central Minnesota
7. Big Watab Lake
Big Watab Lake has an annually managed trout population, with about 10,000 rainbow trout yearlings and 2,000 brown trout yearlings recorded yearly.
It is a small lake with parking for vehicle/trailer combinations, a dock, and portable toilets on the state-owned public access to the northeast.
Other fish species you can expect to find at this trout fishing lake in Minnesota include walleye, yellow bullhead, yellow perch, northern pike, brown bullhead, pugnose shiner, and more.
Get more information on Big Watab Lake.
8. Crappie Lake
If you want to do a little bit of hiking before settling down to fish, Crappie Lake is a fantastic option for you. This trout fishing lake in Minnesota is accessible via canoe portaging and hiking trails and is one of three designated stream trout lakes under the Park Rapids Management Area.
It is stocked with rainbow trout yearlings each fall. You can also find healthy populations of brown trout, yellow perch, bluegill, largemouth bass, golden shiner, and pumpkinseed.
Find out more about Crappie Lake.
9. Lake Charlotte
Lake Charlotte is home to a large population of fish and native aquatic plants. It is family-friendly, peaceful, and wheelchair accessible, making it a fantastic trout fishing lake in Minnesota.
In addition to trout, it has other unique fish species, such as banded killifish, blackchin shiner, blacknose shiner, bluntnose minnow, Iowa darter, rock bass, common carp, tullibee, lake whitefish, bowfin, and more.
Learn more about Lake Charlotte.
Best Trout Fishing Lakes in Southern Minnesota
10. Badger Creek
Badger Creek is a tree-lined narrow stream maintained as a wild trout fishery. It hosts a sizeable self-supporting population of brook trout and brown trout as a result of successful stocking in the 1970s.
The native stream is a great trout fishing lake in Minnesota for trout anglers, but it can be challenging for fly anglers. We suggest you bring your waders to stand in this stream to bring in a healthy haul.
You can also find fathead minnow, central stoneroller, central mudminnow, longnose dace, orange spotted sunfish, brook stickleback, bigmouth shiner, common shiner, and more.
Learn more about Badger Creek.
11. Beaver Creek
Beaver Creek is one of the best trout fishing lakes in Minnesota if you want to enjoy a fun day with friends and family. It is part of the Beaver Creek Valley State Park and offers other activities such as camping, hunting, bird watching, and more.
The creek has two angling easements and is home to brown trout, rainbow trout, and brook trout. Populations of the lake also include American brook lamprey, creek chub, southern redbelly dace, fantail darter, mottled sculpin, and blacknose dace.
Get more information on Beaver Creek.
12. Campbell Creek
A peaceful fishing spot in the southwest is Campbell Creek in Houston county. It hosts an excellent early-season fishing experience with trout, bowfin, northern pike, and largemouth bass.
Read up on Campbell Creek.
13. Hamilton Creek
Hamilton Creek is one of the many naturally cold trout fishing lakes in Minnesota. Other than active fish species like brown trout and rainbow trout, the stream also has black crappie, smallmouth bass, and largemouth bass.
Learn more about Hamilton Creek.
14. Little Mud Lake
Little Mud Lake, managed as a put-and-take fishery, is annually stocked in spring and fall with rainbow trout yearlings.
It is a great place to take your children fishing for rainbow trout, brown trout, small bluegill, pumpkinseed sunfish, black crappie, and more.
Learn more on Little Mud Lake.
15. Spring Creek
Spring Creek is one of the most populated trout fishing lakes in Minnesota, annually stocked in spring with yearling and adult rainbow and brown trout.
Here’s a little tip if you want to make the best of the fishing opportunities here: visit in the early spring-summer.
Check out more about Spring Creek.
16. Canby Creek
If you’re looking for lesser-known trout fishing lakes in Minnesota, head to Canby Creek in the southwest. It has populations of trout along with walleye and northern pike. You can enjoy a day of fishing, swimming, camping, or grilling.
Get more information on Canby Creek.
Wrapping Up the Best Trout Fishing Lakes in Minnesota
We hope this guide gives you plenty of options to try your luck at trout fishing in Minnesota, and that you have a lot of fun and plenty of good luck!
Want to learn more about fishing, discover more fishing spots, and or read up on the best fishing gear? Then continue your fishing adventure with our comprehensive guides, info posts, and more!
- About the Author
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Born in Madelia, MN, to a now 5-generation Minnesota family, Ryan’s MN roots go deep.
A painter by day, Ryan founded Life in Minnesota in 2013 with his wife Kelly to chronicle their musings on everything Minnesota. Ryan and Kelly are raising their 7 kiddos in Maple Grove, MN.
When he’s not shuttling his kids around to hockey practice, you might find him in the shop working on his leatherwork. Undoubtedly, there will be a family trip to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area every summer, and of course weekends at Grandpa’s cabin up north in the summer.